OGDEN — Heavy snow in parts of northern Utah has forced residents to get creative about getting their mail.

Mail carriers have struggled this winter to deliver letters and packages to many people's mailboxes. Snow drifts several feet high are blocking access or burying mailboxes entirely, leaving carriers with no easy way to deliver mail.

To cope with the problem, many in Ogden and elsewhere have taken to improvised receptacles stuck in snowbanks on the street.

Christopher Lizotte uses a blue 5-gallon Igloo cooler. It's readily accessible, waterproof and meets all the government requirements by simply carrying a label that displays the words "US Mail" and his address.

"When they plowed my street, they cleared off the opposite side," Lizotte said. "A lot of the snow ended up on my side, and my mailbox is three or four feet from the road. The snow is up to the bottom of the mailbox, and I can't dig through the ice pack, so I put out the jug."

Others are using an array of homemade devices to help carriers, said Brad Sorensen, supervisor at the Ogden main post office.

"People are putting out buckets or bags, on a board or a stick, stuck into a snowbank," he said.

Sorensen said residents' help is important to ensure carrier safety. Several mail carriers have been injured this winter, including one who slipped, hit her head and has been unable to work for about three weeks, he said.

The snowy weather has added one to two hours to each carrier's route, he said.